Since publishing ‘Money Man’, I’ve been asked by lots of people if it’s fact or fiction. The answer is both. I’ll try and explain below.
On Tuesday, 6th August, 2002 at approximately 10am, my home was raided by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. That is a fact. And yes, I was in my underpants eating a bowl of cereal.
They discovered over £250,000 in fake bank notes, mostly 50 Euro notes. Again a fact.
See the online BBC report here
Click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
The visit to the police station, the overnight stay and the breakfast I received?
It’s all true.
I was allowed access to C12 at Knocknagoney Police Station. The description is accurate. Although the station appears just like any other, it is actually only used for specialist units to tackle specific crime.
The Chester does exist and we did have a couple of meetings there, although the episode with the waitress comes completely from my twisted mind.
The open prawn sandwich is the best on the planet.
So mostly fact.
We frequently met in the car park of St Gerards Chapel on the Antrim Road.
So again fact.
The doors of St Gerard’s Chapel did remind us both of the design of the watermark on the 50 Euro note as shown below. So again fact.
The car park at the top of the Hightown Road was a regular meeting place, so another fact.
The sign doesn’t really tell you much, but if you ever find yourself in Belfast, it’s a great spot for sight seeing or if you like mountain biking, there are lots of trails, and some of them were made by me way back in the day.
Corrs Corner does exist and we had one meeting there, but the episode in the book is entirely fiction.
The Merchant is reputed to be the best hotel in Ireland. It is known for having the one of the most expensive cocktails in the world which is made from Wray and Nephew Rum.
Even when we were making in excess of £10,000 per week in real money, we never tried one.
I’ve been in the hotel a couple of times, but the meeting in the book is fiction.
The barn appears after my arrest and it’s where we set up again to produce more money, but again, it’s fiction.
The notes were said to be the best ever siezed by any UK police force.
The figures in the book are accurate and yes, somebody could easily earn over £243,000 in a week, providing they have a good distributor.
The two police men did exist, although they in no way exhibited the behaviour depicted in ‘Money Man’.
They treated me much better than I expected or deserved.
In 2002 I did have Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and that’s why 50% of the proceeds from ‘Money Man’ go to ‘CancerFocusNI’.
OK folks, ‘Money Man’ is a work of fiction about what MIGHT have happened after my arrest, so the ending is totally fictitious, but hopefully satisfying.
People ask me now what I feel about the whole thing.
Happy – Yes, the book is getting great feedback.
Sad – Yes, the pressure on my family was immense.
Proud – Not of printing money, no.
Embarrassed – No, shit happens.
Would I do it again?
A Definite NO.
You can read a sample from the book on this blog if you click on ‘Books and Short Stories by Lawrence Wray’ at the top of the page.